Build Your Dream House: Know Who to Hire to Get It Built Right

Stacy Sare Cohen
Written by Stacy Sare Cohen
Updated November 24, 2021
Gray new construction modern cottage home
Photo: Ursula Page / Adobe Stock

You should hire a licensed building contractor to build your house

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Imagine living in your dream house with everything designed and built to your specifications. Do you fancy mid-century modern architecture? Check. A primary bedroom on the ground floor? Check. Maybe it's a spacious home office to work remotely or a detached guest house for your college-aged child. However you envision your custom-built dream home, you can make it a reality when you hire the right pro to manage your project. 

Learn more about hiring a licensed building contractor to build a house.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Building Contractor

At $112,000 to $450,000, the cost to build a house is likely one of the biggest investments you'll ever make. It's a huge endeavor that requires a professional with a wealth of expertise and knowledge of building codes, zoning laws, and restrictions.

Here's how working with a licensed building contractor can help get your new house built right:

  • Match you to the right parcel of land: Your builder can tell you if the land you want to buy (or already own) meets your building preferences and requirements, so you can add that sparkling pool or guest house.

  • Ensure your property has utility access: If you're considering relocating to a rural area, you may have limited access to utilities like electric, water, cable, and sewer. Your building contractor will do the necessary research on any additional requirements needed for the build.

  • Test the soil: To obtain a permit, your contractor will subcontract a soil engineer to dig into the ground to ensure the parcel's soil will support your foundation.

  • Hire skilled subcontractors: A licensed building contractor is responsible for assembling a team of subcontractors—including architects, designers, construction pros, electricians, plumbers, fabricators, and landscapers—that can move your building project forward.

  • Secure better prices for home building materials: From your lighting fixtures to your quartz countertops and brand new hardwood floors, a building contractor can get better material prices from suppliers.

  • Oversee the project: A general contractor provides professional project management and will organize every aspect of the home build, from materials and labor to timelines and deliverables.

Can I DIY a Home Build?

While you can buy a kit and build a home yourself with the proper permits, home-building is an incredibly labor-intensive and comprehensive project. It will require professionals like electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists at different project stages. Here are some DIY drawbacks to consider when deciding whether or not to hire a building contractor.

  • Lack of resources: Working with a contractor's design team will provide the expertise you need for the finishes and materials you're considering. Pros have access to books and samples you can flip through. They also can get discounts on materials to pass on to you.

  • Time-consuming: Taking the time to do research, conduct interviews, and perform background checks can be rigorous and is not always the best choice when you're managing family and employment responsibilities. A building contractor works with a vetted team of subcontractors and can streamline the team-building process.

  • Emergencies: If an emergency happens on the job site, such as an accident, incorrect materials, or defective products, you are responsible for remediating the situation.

Can I Hire a Handyperson With Construction Experience?

Every handyperson has their own distinct level of expertise and specialization. Some handypersons have earned their licensing credentials, giving customers peace of mind, especially when they hold insurance that covers them for accidents or emergencies.

While an industry veteran will have quite a bit of experience with many aspects of home-building, the process typically requires an all-hands-on-deck approach with multiple team members and subcontractors. In addition, relying on one person to get a complete build across the finish line will significantly impact the project timeline.

How Do Licensed Building Contractors Build a House?

Building a house occurs in stages with inspections at each phase of the project. Read on to learn about the seven stages that take place from initial concept to completion of building your dream home.

  1. Planning and permits: During this stage architects draw up blueprints that get the green light from an engineer. The contractor then brings the building plans to your city to get the proper permits and arrange inspections.

  2. Site preparation: Before a carpenter picks up a hammer, the construction site must be ready. The contractor will arrange for soil testing, excavate the area, ensure the area is level, and then pour your home's foundation.

  3. Rough framing: The frame is the skeleton of the house from the top down. Carpenters and contractors apply roofing systems, walls, and plywood to the exterior. Then the roof, windows, and exterior doors are installed. Next comes the sheathing that forms a protective barrier, preventing water from penetrating the house.

  4. Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC: During this stage, specialty contractors install wiring, pipes, and heating and AC systems throughout the house.

  5. Insulation: Insulation installers place insulation in the interior and exterior of the home, including the exterior walls, attic, and basement. Your builder may also use insulation in interior walls to act as soundproofing.

  6. Drywall, flooring, and interior: After the electric, heating, and plumbing inspections pass, the next stage is putting up drywall. Once the drywall is complete, the contractor installs flooring, cabinets, countertops, islands, vanities, tubs, toilets, sinks, fixtures, and any built-ins.  

  7. Exterior and landscaping: During the final stage, pros put a finishing touch on your home's exterior, including:

    • Pool installation

    • Patios

    • Driveway and walkways

    • Landscaping

    • Siding and facades

    • Painting

After your home passes its final inspection, your builder will obtain a certificate of occupancy from your municipality.

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